There has been a lot of talk about Metro CEO Rick Simonetta lately, some about his impending “retirement” which apparently means accepting a sweet new transportation gig. Other talk has to do with finding his replacement.
Apparently, the two leading candidates to replace Simonetta are transit industry veterans Stephen Banta, the operations chief for Portland’s light rail system, and Deborah Wathen Finn, an independent consultant with a pretty impressive transit background.
The new chief gets to step into a relatively new system facing huge funding issues amidst better than expected ridership. I have been getting the feeling that Metro has been doing a better job reaching out to the community as time goes by, and I sincerely hope the new chief continues to allow this to progress while improving on communication.
There have been rumors of Metro adding some cool features and information to the Metro light rail web site with the caveat of “it all costs money.” I know that MANY people have offered to work with them on better web site enhancements, mobile applications for users, better signage ideas, scheduling ideas, etc. Having transit information readily available and in a more user friendly environment would be pretty cool.
So, what kinds of questions do you think will be the most pressing for the new CEO? Budget, fare structure, expansion, working with the cities, alignment, travel times, ridership numbers, safety, public relations, technology??